History of Immigration

History of Immigration

Immigration Throughout Our History (Article 2 in the series)

Last week, the issue of immigration was introduced along with some of the key ideas to consider, and this week we take a look at the history of immigration in our country. Please keep all immigrants and refugees in your prayers and contact Andrew Musgrave at musgravea@archmil.org or 414-271-6577 with any questions.

Immigration has been a way of life almost since humanity began. It is critical throughout the Bible, from Abraham to Moses to Jesus himself, and – in each instance – people were fleeing from a terrible situation, searching for a better life.

It is also the history of our country. From the 1820s to 1921, 33 million European immigrants came to our borders, and almost everyone was welcome. (Only 2% of the people who arrived at Ellis Island were denied entry.) (This says nothing of the millions of people brought to our country against their will.) It wasn’t until 1921 that limits were first imposed.

Our Catholic forefathers faced some of the most intense xenophobia in American history, with many people believing that the Catholics coming over were being sent by the Pope to destroy the American way of life. Immigration continued at a strong pace throughout the 20th century, and today immigrants make up about 12% of the US population.

Immigrants today come for the same reasons as their predecessors – to escape violence, famine, political upheaval and/or to come and make a better life for themselves and their family still in their native country.